Stephen Curry, the scorer

Stephen Curry, the scorer
January 29, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Stephen Curry is one of the league's top three-point shooters, so Matt Steinmetz thinks the Warriors should look to pass to him more often. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

This is Stephen Curry’s fourth year in the league, and throughout most of his career, people have been trying to find the description that best suits him as a player.

Some maintain he’s a point guard; others maintain he’s a shooting guard; and a few say he’s mostly a 3-point specialist. Plenty of Warriors fans believe he’s all those things and more.

But what’s become apparent to me over the course of his pro career – and most especially this season – is that Stephen Curry is a scorer, first and foremost.

Of all the things Curry does well, that’s what he does best and most consistently. He scores.

Curry is eighth in the league in scoring this season, averaging 21 points per game. Most impressive is Curry’s 45-percent shooting beyond the arc.

Curry may be the league’s most automatic shooter these days, the guy most likely to make a shot with only a hint of space between him and the defender.

Because Curry has become such a threat from the perimeter, it has opened up alleys and lanes for him, and he has taken advantage by developing a little bit of a runner and mid-range game.

He’s still not the best when it comes to finishing at the rim or finding people after penetration in the lane, but he’s gotten himself into those troubling spots less this year.

Can Curry play point guard? Of course he can. But the question is whether that’s the best way to utilize him. I’m not so sure. I’d like to see him get passed to more and have him pass less. I want him to be less concerned about his teammates and his teammates to be more concerned about him.

There is little doubt Curry is one of the best outside shooters in the NBA. It's also obvious that the Warriors could do a better job of finding him shots out there.

Yes, Curry is up there when it comes to 3-point attempts, but why shouldn’t he be? Heck, he should lead the league in attempts by a mile. Why not?

One of the reasons Curry has been able to be effective in the fourth quarter of games is because he’s often playing the shooting guard, alongside Jarrett Jack.

How nice would it be if Curry could play alongside a guard like that on more of a full-time basis? How about a James Harden-Curry backcourt? Just saying.

Klay Thompson is young and improving. But he’s unlikely to develop into a pass-first type of player, nor would you want him to be.

When it comes to assist-to-turnover ratio, one of the best ways to statistically gauge a point guard, Curry finds himself well down the list.

His assist-to-turnover ratio is a less-than-ordinary (for a point guard) 2.27-to-1. Of course, that’s not even close to the elite guards in that category, such as Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, etc.

But it’s surprising to find that assist-to-turnover ratio is worse than players such as Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Watson, Russell Westbrook and Nate Robinson.

But this isn’t about Curry not being a point guard. This is about Curry’s incredible ability to shoot the ball and his ability to be a threat from deep.

And how best to take advantage of that strength.

Perhaps the best way to take advantage of that is to think of Curry as a scorer first and foremost.